Hartford Yard Goats stadium (CTNewsJunkie file photo)

About half of the 151 members in the House of Representatives will be attending a Hartford Yard Goats game Tuesday. 

It won’t be on the taxpayers’ dime. They will pay $33 for their admission to the game and for an opportunity to get to know each other. 

“I think it’s a big help for newer members who sort of came into a COVID environment with restrictions on public hearings and meetings,” House Speaker Matt Ritter said. 

He said these are the types of events that will allow lawmakers to have a better understanding of who a fellow lawmaker is as a person, which will hopefully allow for a more collegial atmosphere in the future. 

“It doesn’t mean that we’re going to agree on everything, but hopefully it leads to better communication,” Ritter said. 

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said the outing is mainly driven by the fact that many of the members didn’t get a chance to interact during the session. They were largely asked to stay in their offices or attend public hearings via Zoom. 

“Now that the members are vaccinated and we can get out, we figured it would be a good opportunity for people to build these relationships,” Candelora said. “At this time when politics is so polarizing, I think it’s more important to communicate with each other and try and bridge those gaps.”

But they won’t have an opportunity to test their new friendships just yet because the session doesn’t start until next year. 

“Breaking these barriers down will just help make the process better in February,” Candelora said. 

Ritter said knowing lawmakers on the other side of the aisle is helpful to making sure things run smoothly when they’re in session. 

“Doesn’t mean this is going to lead us to agreeing on certain concepts and bills,” Ritter said. “But if you can communicate about time, about how long things are going to go, working on amendments —  it makes a big difference to the legislative process and it ultimately benefits the people of the state of Connecticut.”

There are three more similar events planned for later this summer in other parts of the state.